Saturday, October 24, 2015

Thrify Acres: Back to 1876

Hello! We've had "Back To The Future Day" recently, so now I'll go back to the past, as in 1876:

Above, the Illustrated Historical Atlas of the counties of Ottawa and Kent Michigan. This is a facsimile of the original 1876 version. As the publication date of my facsimile was 1975, I suspect it was issued as a centennial edition. 

Sure, I'd love to have an original edition, but it'd likely be rather expensive. I'm fine with the two bucks I paid for this at a local thrift store. 

I'm not from either Ottawa or Kent counties, so the historical write-up in the volume is lost on me. There's enough info to be interesting to natives of the area, though, and I might even look through it sometime. 

I bought the atlas for the illustrations; there's great details in the black and white drawings and thus a fascinating look at life in 1876 emerges. 

"Farm Res. of A. C. Ellis Esq. Polkton T.P. (township) Ottawa Co. Mich." Looks like Mr. Ellis had a very tidy farm.

Horses and grazing livestock at the "Farm Res. of Eliphalet Walcott, Sec. 14 Wright TP Ottawa County Mich."

"Lake House on Fisk and Reeds Lakes". Boats, people on shores, trees - all beautifully rendered.

However, I'm not sure if the following was drawn as well:

I didn't realize that cows had backs so straight that you could get a table on them! This illustration just looks all wrong to me.

Back to the landscapes, which is where the artist excelled:

Well, okay, so it looks like the man is riding on a giant pumpkin instead of a loaded haywagon, but I liked this anyway. 

Note the border of leaves around the pigs. 

Wonderful drawing of a horse, as befits one whose name was Highland Golddust. 

The atlas goes on and on with illustration after illustration of towns, farms, and livestock - just way too many to show off here. So instead I'll close with a couple of businesses that were around back then:

"William O'Connor's Grocery & Liquor Store, 537 Division St Grand Rapids, Mich." Since the address was given, it'd be interesting to go to that part of Grand Rapids now and see what's there. I'm sure the store is long gone.

"General Store of J. A. Liebler, Caledonia, Mich." The drawing shows a woman pushing a baby buggy, a horse pulling a wagon load of barrels, a woman by the doorway, and others on the street. And look! Not only did Mr. Liebler run a general store, but he was also an undertaker, as seen on the small structure next to the store building.

Sure, it's fun to go back to the future, but I enjoyed going back to 1876!




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